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Giro Aether Mips helmet review

23 Oct 2018
Verdict:

Giro has delivered a superb helmet, and set a new benchmark. In years to come we’ll be remembering helmets 'before Mips Spherical'

Cyclist Rating: 
Price: 
£260
For 
• Lightweight • Superb looks • Great fit system and adjustability • Excellent ventilation • Added peace of mind
Against 
I can’t think of a con other than having to choose from a host of really good colours – it’s a tough call!

Photos: Taylor Tulip-Close and George Marshall

Helmet designers face a particularly tough task. Creating a really slick looking product is paramount if anyone is going to buy and/or wear it, (we all want to look great on the bike – right?) but of course so too is safety - that goes without saying.

Also in the mix are performance attributes like weight, ventilation and aerodynamics. It’s a bunch of often-conflicting features that means helmet brands really have their work cut out to deliver on all counts.

With the Aether Mips, Giro has absolutely nailed it. Let me explain…

Straight out of the box, this was one of the most comfortable helmets I’ve ever put on. Granted head shapes vary greatly so there is a certain amount of personal preference and I realise I can’t speak for everyone, but what I can say with certainty is Giro has taken a very detailed look at fine tuning the fit options with its new Roc-Loc 5+Air retention system.

For me the Aether achieved a hard to hit sweetspot where the fit was reassuringly snug and secure yet at the same time it seemed to almost disappear on my head.

This is without exception the first Mips helmet I’ve worn that I could say that for – a real testament to the success of the Mips Spherical technology - as the standard Mips liner used in other helmets has always remained a noticeable feature that, to varying levels (depending on the brand), affects comfort and fit.

Not to mention the fact there was none of the hair tugging as I took the helmet off, something that anyone with longish hair will no doubt have noticed with the previous styles of Mips liner.

Heated debate

Thanks to some unprecedented warm temperatures in the UK this summer and some time spent riding with the Giro Aether Mips in sunny California, I’ve had plenty of opportunities to assess how well it deals with heat. And I’ve never been left wanting.

Perhaps aside from wintry mornings (ice cream head being the immediate sign of a well ventilated lid) it’s hard to tell to what extent a helmet is cooling your bonce as you ride, but it does often become more apparent when you stop, especially after a long hot climb.

Usually pressing on the front of my helmet would result in a torrent of perspiration pouring down my forehead from the sodden pads within.

With Aether, though, it was more of a trickle than a deluge indicating I was significantly cooler up top than my sweat soaked jersey would attest I might otherwise be.

Another general observation was my eyewear had much less tendency to steam up or be sweat splattered whilst wearing the Aether Mips, which could possibly also be attributed to having a cooler head.

Furthermore, it became very obvious how well the vents were sucking in and expelling air when on a hot summer ride one of my riding companions took his Giro Aether Mips helmet off at a cafe stop.

His hair was spiked in neat lines creating a perfect visual simulation of how the air had pushed through the helmet channels (clearly pulling his hair with it) and exhausting through the top and rear.

Giro claims the Aether Mips to be a fraction faster than its Synthe Mips aerodynamically and whilst I can’t vouch for that with any kind of certainty, I feel there is no reason to mistrust Giro’s claims, given the Aether Mips appears to have trumped the Synthe on every other aspect too.

To be able to say that is in itself a big deal. Before testing the Aether Mips I would have vouched, wholeheartedly, for the Synthe Mips as certainly being one of, if not the, best all round performing helmet on the market, and to be honest hard to improve on, but Giro has managed it.

The Giro Aether Mips is a superb helmet. It’s lightweight, well ventilated, fits really well (and has heaps of adjustment for fine tuning to make sure that is the case for a wide variety of head shapes – not just mine) and looks really stylish to boot.

A really neat detail is the finned rubber grippers strategically positioned just inside two of the vents to keep your shades securely docked should you wish to remove them, while riding.

Looking down or riding over bumpy terrain posed no problem at all, with Oakley, 100% and Shimano glasses used at various points in my testing.

Brainy bunch

Even aside from the extra peace of mind the Mips Spherical technology brings in terms of its proven ability to reduce brain injury through reducing rotational forces in an impact (which incidentally will almost always occur in a cycling crash due to the fact we are usually moving) I’d still want to wear this helmet.

The fact that it has that added protection too is really just the icing on the cake. And therein lies the crux of its success; you don’t notice the extra protection it’s offering.

That’s the Holy Grail for a helmet – to not even notice you are wearing it until it matters, and let’s hope we don’t need to test that aspect all too often, preferably never!

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